Soft Summer Airs-piano suite
Piano solo – 9′
Premiere—2011, by Mimi Tung, St. Paul, Minn.
- To the Summer House (2003) 2′
- Bright Wings! (2002) 2′
- Seated in the Rain (1992) 3′
- Now the Heart Sings (2000) 2′
- The Clear Water of Our Hearts (2005) 1′
This 2010 collection brings together five small pieces on summery themes as a piano suite. To the Summer House was presented as a gift to the wonderful Twin Cities pianist Thelma Hunter after a 2003 Music in the Park concert. It turns out that Thelma and her late husband Sam did indeed have a summer house on their Mendota Heights property. You may recognize a paraphrase of Mendelssohn’s famous bit “Oh, for the wings, for the wings of a dove” in Bright Wings!, for Nell Slater. It takes as a point of departure lines from Hopkins’s poem “God’s Grandeur”:
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
. . . .
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with, ah! bright wings.
Seated in the Rain was composed in the wake of a tragic event many years ago. Now the Heart Sings was a present for broadcasting friends Amy Roach and Martin Goldsmith on their first wedding anniversary. The close and introduction from my song, “The Gateway,” frames the tune from that song, from the song cycle, Grace and Stir. If the song and piano piece were performed in tandem, they would create a ring. The Clear Water of Our Hearts was a wedding present for pianist Shannon Wettstein and William Sadler. The title borrows a line from one of Billy’s poems.
The suite, while not virtuosic, has some subtle difficulties, making it appropriate for a mature performer.